Fufi-stylist, Fatma Ghanem is one of many budding Arab abaya Designer and a self-made one at that. Having launched her collection last summer and already made it to the top 5 in Qatar’s Fashion Glam Magazine,
Khansa: Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up and what have you studied?
Fatma: I was born in Tripoli, Libya. Having always loved fashion, I used to be one of those kids who spend all of my time drawing. I always knew I wanted to do art. At the age of 15, I moved with my family to Milano, Italy. It was there I realised that the art I wanted to pursue was fashion. Milano, where the classical architecture is in perfect symbiosis with modern design laid the seed of my interest in fashion. I moved to the UAE later where I learnt about traditional tailoring. I started out by designing abayas for my family; positive feedback from them really inspired me to get into design.
I moved to Qatar for my undergraduate studies and chose to be in IT as I believed fashion and art were more of a talent than a subject to be learnt and taught.
During the last year of my college, I decided to start my own business and launched my first Abaya collection “Deep in the Desert” in September 2012. It was inspired from the aesthetics of the desert.
Social media really helped me out a lot as it gave me chances to know many local designers. I also had the opportunity to work with Qatar TV and it was an amazing experience. Fufistylist is who I am known as in the fashion circle of Qatar.
Khansa: Tell us about your next step. What do you want to achieve professionally?
Fatma: For now, I have my new collection-‘The soul of the 60s” which I have just released and would like to exhibit it in both Doha and Tripoli. I have also tried to include some simple pieces in my collections that are more affordable for shops and customers. I also plan to coordinate with other artists to conduct an event whose proceeds will go to charity.
Khansa: Who do you want to work with? Any favorite designers/artists?
Fatma: The legendary American classic designer Tom Ford! He is one of the world’s most influential designers, balancing classic lines with tweaks that make his work undeniably his own.
And from the Middle East I have always got inspired by the brightest star Elie Saab, a man for all seasons. He is the man with the Midas touch, creating beautiful designs that define high fashion and luxury.
Khansa: Tell us about your new collection.
Fatma: My new Collection called “The soul of the 60’s”. I’m inspired by the 60s classic movies because I have a burning passion for classic Hollywood, Audrey Hepburn, Vivien Leigh and Hedy Lamarr.
I recently read Audrey 60’s book, she’s one of the greatest and most timeless fashion and style icons that has ever graced this planet. Ms Hepburn reminds the reader that there is no substitute for talent, innate style, and graciousness. She was modest by all accounts, filled with life and humour, and respectful of all those around her.
Khansa: Having seen your new collection, all of them seems to be just classic and the way you have chosen the photoshoot places, it is just fabulous! Which piece is your favourite?
Fatma: That’s a hard question. I have a new favorite piece with every new collection, but I do really like my Black in Black Abaya with a simple touch of black flowers on the top from “Deep in the desert” 2012 collection.
Khansa: Why is the brand called “Fufi-stylist”?
Fatma: Since I was a small kid my mother use to call me fufi and when I grew up and I become a stylist I combined my nick name with what I’m really passionate about and here we come fufistylist-designs it’s a brand now .
Khansa: Talk to us about your tailoring techniques. What should we look for to get the perfect abaya?
Fatma: When I think of tailoring techniques, I think of things used to create shape in a more structured Abaya, I take care of the length and cut, I pay attention to fabric, color and pattern. And most importantly, I try to understand my customer personal style, using my stylist techniques helps me to come up with a nice conclusion that can create a connection of understanding and make my customers satisfied of my work.
Khansa: How have Abayas changed since the past 10 years? How has the local Abaya fashion scene changed ever since?
Fatma: The definition of Abaya has changed since then, people love fashion because it provides a sense of fantasy and hope, and I think it’s important to keep those qualities, especially in these times. I believe people are going to be looking for really special, stunning pieces and that’s what I hope to provide.
Khansa: What inspires you?
Fatma: At the beginning of my working process there is always a persona. I always use characters and fictional stories as an inspiration to build up a collection as it helps me to create an ambience and gives me an environment to work in. My choices of colours, patterns and cuts can be traced to this story or to the character. I am inspired when I touch each fabric.
Khansa: Who would you like to see wearing a fufi-abaya?
Fatma:Her Highness Sheikha Mozah
Khansa: Of course! Sheikha Mozah is truly an icon who would give your collection the perfect look you want! Where do you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Fatma:To be prosperous, hopefully still being as creative as possible designing, writing and illustrating, just hopefully on a bigger scale with my own larger creative company.
On behalf of Haute Arabia, we would like to thank you Fatma for your time and wish you luck in your journey!! Until, Next Time!
Feature Editor: Khansa Abdul Jaleel